Three unconventional ways Gov. Brown can scare up billions for the bullet train

(Ted Rall / For The Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown has a dream, a dream that would serve as his greatest legacy: a high-speed train that would slash the six-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to a relaxing ride a smidge over two hours.

It may seem like a pipe dream now, but similar links have transformed other countries. When I visited Paris as a kid, the eastern city of Strasbourg was a weird, remote border town where people spoke German and claimed to like black blood sausages. Thanks to France’s TGV trains, an all-day schlep is a quick day trip now — two hours each way — that paved the way for Strasbourg to become an important headquarters for European Union bureaucrats and Eurozone business types. Moreover, two hours on the train are not like two hours behind the wheel of a car. You can get a lot of work done on a train.

It doesn’t take a big stretch of imagination to see why Silicon Valley and Hollywood might want to work together more closely.

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Unfortunately, Brown is having trouble scaring up the $68 billion estimated total cost of the project.

Fortunately, money seems to be easy to find these days.

California’s parks department, for example, in 2012 was found to be in the habit of secretly squirreling away tens of millions of dollars for a rainy day — in the middle of a budgetary typhoon. Maybe it still has a few bucks under the cushions?

Geeks are willing to fund just about anything on Kickstarter. Sure, people are starving, but how about $67,000 for a statue of the fictional character Robocop?

Then there are like 70 “alternative” cyber currencies, all based on, well, nothing. If Catcoins and Dogecoins and Sexcoins can persaude people to part with real (“fiat”) money, why not Traincoin?


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